Pelicans Picked and Rolled to death in 4th by Spurs, blow double-digit lead in 102-95 loss

After three quarters, the Pelicans were in the driver’s seat with a 76-64 lead. They managed to hold the Spurs to 42.6% shooting (2-12 from long range) and only 12 free throw attempts (including just three in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined). San Antonio had totaled just two offensive rebounds, and though Parker and Duncan had both combined for 36 points up until that point, it took them 34 field goal attempts to get there. On the flip side, the Pelicans were shooting 48.3% from the field (5-10 from beyond the arc) and had converted on 15 out of 18 free throw attempts, all with Anthony Davis averaging less than a point per shot attempt. New Orleans out-rebounded San Antonio 37-23, Eric Gordon and Anthony Morrow combined for 32 points on only 14 shots (2.3 points per FGA!), and the Pels appeared to be in great shape to pull off an upset of one of the best teams in the NBA on their home court.

Unfortunately, NBA games are four quarters long.

The final period was an absolute disaster for the Pelicans from start to finish. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played a fun game of “who will Greg Stiemsma attempt to guard after we run a pick and roll?” and abused him consistently. It felt like I was watching Robin Lopez in that brutal meltdown vs. Kobe and the Lakers last year… except at least Lopez can, you know, score. The Pelicans were unable to force a single turnover in the period while committing 5 of their own. The Spurs made more 3-pointers and collected more offensive rebounds (3 and 3) than in the first three quarters combined (2 and 2). In just 12 minutes, New Orleans was able to undo 36 minutes of hard work, and then some. Just a brutal loss for the Pelicans in a game that they really had no excuse to lose given their lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Keys to the Game

  1. Contain. Tony Parker. I guess I should have emphasized “for two halves”, because the Pelicans decided to call it quits on this task after just two quarters. Parker scored 11 points on 11 shots in the first half, but erupted for 21 points on 13 attempts in the second half. As expected, Parker ran circles around Roberts late in the game, and also as expected, Monty Williams made no effort to try to find someone else who could defend him.
  2. Positioning ≠ rebounding. Boxing your man out = rebounds. All things considered, the Pelicans did a pretty good job of keeping the Spurs off of the offensive glass (especially in the first three quarters). Overall, the Spurs finished with an offensive rebound rate right around 12%, just over half of their bottom-5 season average of 22.2%. Good work on the glass tonight by New Orleans, led by Davis (16 rebounds in 44 minutes) and Ajinca (10 rebounds in 27 minutes).
  3. Stop fouling everyone. Things started off shaky for the Pels, as the Spurs got into the penalty with 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter, attempting 5 free throws in the game’s first 7 minutes. After that, however, New Orleans really improved their discipline, allowing just three free throw attempts in that entire span (related: Stiemsma played in just 7 1/2 minutes throughout that stretch). The Spurs finished with 25 free throw attempts, but six of them came via desperation fouling in the game’s final minute, and removing those would put San Antonio right around their average of 19.5 per game.

Other game notes:

  • I can’t help but blame Monty Williams at least to some extent for tonight’s collapse. Throughout a bulk of the 4th quarter, he just sat and watched both Stiemsma get annihilated on the pick and roll and Roberts get sliced up by Parker. Does that mean that the same exact thing would not have happened to Ajinca and Rivers? Not at all, but why not find out? Make an adjustment instead of watching your team fall apart.
  • I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention Anthony Morrow’s great night again. He made almost everything he shot tonight, finishing with 20 points on 9 field goal attempts. Even more impressive was the fact that only 6 of those points came from long range, which is pretty unusual for him. However, when the team needed the long ball the most in the game’s final few minutes, he was inexplicably glued to the bench.
  • Tyreke Evans missed the entire second half after exiting the game in the second quarter. At the time, it looked like a rib injury; hopefully we’ll get good news about his status soon.
  • Austin Rivers attempted 4 free throws tonight. Austin Rivers MADE 4 free throws tonight. He also played fairly well otherwise, totaling 10 points on 8 shots and leading the team in assists with 5.
  • In case you missed the news before the game, Jason Smith will miss the remainder of this season while recovering from knee surgery. Smith is a free agent after the season, so there is a chance that he has played his last game in a Pelicans uniform. That being said, given the fact that Smith is the longest tenured New Orleans player and still a very useful bench player, I expect the Pelicans to do everything they can to bring him back. Smith has been nothing but a class act since he first arrived in NOLA, and all of us at Bourbon Street Shots will be wishing him nothing but the best.

Pelicans take on the Hawks on Wednesday night at home, and we all know how much fun it is to beat teams from Atlanta! Purchase those tickets now and get to the New Orleans Arena to cheer the good guys on to victory.

24 responses to “Pelicans Picked and Rolled to death in 4th by Spurs, blow double-digit lead in 102-95 loss”

  1. Monty Williams needs to be replaced sooner rather than later.  How can he be so bad with rotations?  Do people honestly not see what I am seeing?  How could this man be the Team USA basketball assistant coach, and a specialist in defense of all things?  If he remains the coach, Davis will surely leave in the future.  George Karl and Hollis Thomas are available, for the 10th time!

  2. Pierre24 Key word there: George Karl, I still don’t understand why no one has picked him up.

    Maybe BSS could run an article about Monty’s performance and compare it to previous jobs of available coaching candidates?

  3. dis how i feel monty was a idiot i feel rivers should b starting over roberts in most matchup nd i believe monty should get fired for not having withey play a single min in dis game when alicja or greg get killed because they was slow footed. nd  to not even attempted adjustment in da 4th while ur morrow rivers nd withey was on da bench was nightmare u have no reason to tank. so would it hurt to make adjustment to ur opp as ur opp continuing to out coach u because yes da talent level is down because players hurt but  a winning coach wouldnt have stood their looking like a dumbass as ur team get chewed out by t. parker because u got roberts nd two slow footed centers get killed so sleep well by proving to fans dat u is a horrible coach

  4. Ok, I got thatout of my system. Davis couldn’t put a jumper in 2nite, yet he had an impact on the game. Why did Miller get thrown into the 4th quarter cold? This one had me wanting to throw the remote at my tv: why in the foxtrot was Davis on Bonner while Ajincia was getting reamed by that pick and roll? Splitter wasn’t on the floor, throw AD on Duncan for that final 4 minutes.

  5. oh, let’s not forget Morrow had the hot hand, then found the bench in the clutch?! Now to the players: Eric Gordon, you see AD struggling with his shot. Shoot the foxtrot ball, don’t try these And 1 passes to people with stone hands.

  6. I have to agree with everyone here.  I don’t know why Morrow was on the bench at the end of the game when we needed some shooters to space the floor for Davis, who was struggling there at the end.  Also, Rivers clearly has the superior foot speed, why would you not give him a shot at guarding Parker at the end?  I agree the result might have been the same, but why wouldn’t you try him?  We’re probably not making the playoffs.  What have we got to lose?  This was classic coaching to not lose instead of coaching to win.
    I’m not on the fire Monty bandwagon, but tonight I thought his late game rotations were atrocious.  Way to piss down your leg against your mentor during the clutch, Monty.

  7. At this point I’m just interested to see what this team could do with a somewhat decent coach and healthy players. And maybe not even all of our players healthy all the time…but how about just MOST of our good players healthy for more than half the season? Is that too much to ask as a Pels fan? 
    And what happened to Withey? Stiemsma is obviously not staying after this season because he’s terrible. The only way I’d see him back is in some Amundson-like signing. WIthey, however, COULD REALLY USE PLAYING TIME AND MONTY SHOULD PLAY HIM. And did I mention HE’S BETTER THAN STIEMSMA. ANYONE IS BETTER THAN STIEMSMA AT THIS POINT. I usually don’t get angry over losses since I know we’ll have a lot of them, but we’re not even having moral victories. This isn’t the first time this year we’ve let up a huge lead we’ve had all game. It just gets unbearable after awhile.

  8. With all of the coaching lapses noted here, and rightly so, it should be said that it didn’t help that AD was pressing, and it’s not hard to guess why. This was a chance in front of a national tv audience to make his case for All-Star replacement selection, and he was trying too hard to put a face to a name, for the overwhelming majority out there that has never seen him play an NBA game. Chalk that part of it up to the Cone of Silence that is Pelicans basketball, a space that only locals and aficionados of the game seem to have penetrated. (Which does not, it should be said, include the jackass coaches that declined to vote him onto the roster due to the team’s record, as though that’s some kind of reflection on the player that half the team’s key players have seemingly had more time on IR than on the floor.) AD was trying so hard to bring the game home that it became a thing. So add that in with the other breakdowns in the 4th quarter.

  9. With all the injuries I would like to see Rivers given more consistent minutes. I’m tired of watching Monty play it conservative and make zero adjustments. I mean what do you have to lose? Speedy recovery to J.Smith bte

  10. You just have not been paying attention. You do not need to exaggerate or flail about emotionally to criticize.
    I can’t speak for others, but I have said in no uncertain terms that there must be coaching changes, but the staff before Monty.
    Also, I have looked at the effect of minutes on injuries.
    Playing the worse players more often is what is happening. Question why all you want, but this is why the team loses at the rate it does.
    I have also personally brought up the Pelicans NBA-worst 2P% allowed to his face and asked him why it is so bad and how he is going to adjust.
    I get your frustration, but don’t go pointing fingers when you have not been keeping up.
    Is that enough calling out of Monty? What else do you want if not?

  11. Here is my write up of the game:

    The Pelicans nearly beat Spurs, despite being more shorthanded/banged up than the much older Spurs.  (Tyreke Evans left the game early, never to return.)  In a game that came down to two man basketball by both teams, when Anthony Davis was an inefficient scorer all night, the Pelicans stayed in the game until nearly the end thanks to timely play by Anthony Morrow and Austin Rivers(!).  In the end, the Spurs played very strong team defense to give the Pelicans (it seemed like a million) empty trip after empty trip, while the veteran Spurs offense finally figured out how to beat the Pelicans defense consistently.  Disappointingly, two timely techincals on the Spurs seemed to swing some later key calls their way despite this being a Pelicans’ home game.  Fans got teased by the early success, but this is a ‘last two minutes wins’ league.  The result isn’t a surprise with the Pelicans missing three of their top five players, missing their 7th best player, and having their superstar have an off night offensively.  The positive play of Morrow and Rivers is something to watch for in the rest of the season.

  12. Watching the game last night, I was baffled.  I don’t have anything new to add but I have to bleed myself. Monty seems disconnected in these games – like he’s not seeing what we see.  Will someone just remind him that the “hot” players stays in the game?  Forget rotations, minutes – fans want wins (especially games where we’re up by 14).  To just hand the game to the Spurs is unacceptable.  I don’t know but someone from the organization needs to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with him.  If he is building a coaching resume it is building a poor one.  I am a fan of the Spurs and I know Monty owes them a lot but they’re old and depleted and we had them – we had them.  I’m still confused the day after.

  13. Gotta join the Monty rant.  Last night was terrible.  Brian Roberts was getting schooled possession after possession by Parker.  While Rivers was getting beat too, at least he has quick feet and quick hands – could have gotten 1, maybe 2 steals in the 4th (the Spurs did not turn the ball over in the 4th).  A turnover or two and just a couple stops would have made an enormous difference.  I really don’t get what Monty was doing.  He has a young team, they weren’t on a back-to-back – much as I like the guy I don’t see him leading the Pelicans to a title (much less a first round win).

  14. IT happened again.  Since IT is just reality and IT will continue happening I have to turn my attn elsewhere… I prefer the 4th quarter collapse over the 3rd.  Sure it stings a little more, but the correlation between close games and entertaining crowd dancing during timeouts cannot be ignored.  Thanks Monty for the 4th quarter meltdowns. Thanks to the crowd dancers too.  That takes an extreme level of bravery.
    In the 4th, Matt Bonner would just run to a corner and AD would follow him resulting in clear paths to the basket.   No need for an AD/Duncan match up this night, sayeth Monty!!!  The Spurs gave ten minutes of effort and that was enough.
    The rotations and the game plan are set in practice. This game plan will not be tweaked at any point in the game (unless there are fouls!!!!).  It’s foolish to think this pattern will change. It hasn’t in 4 seasons. Teams see what the Hornets/Pelicans are doing in a game, adjust, and there is no counter….just collapse after collapse.

  15. I thought Morrow and Rivers should’ve closed the game,hopefully Monty will learn from this….remember guys this Spurs team was a miss shot from a NBA championship ….so,chalk this one up as a character builder

  16. The Spurs have always been one of the best ” time to amp it up guys!” kind of a team…they have always displayed spurts in late game situations….Tony Parker can’t be defended by any Pelican as the game tape would have convicted anyone……

  17. Sorry lads,but you missed the mark again…the Pelicans lack talent and all the rotations on the earth can’t hide their weakness….now remember if you feel the need to toss poison darts at the coach do not complain if those same darts are thrown back at you……allow me to say that some of you do not now how to view a game and to properly analyze it….some of you comments need laugh tracks to accompany them……remember it was you that did the name calling towards a coach…the allows me to do the same to you…..correct?
    of course my love for you will never cease to exists…lesson learned?

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